KEY FINDING 15. Canada is well endowed with a natural environment that provides ecosystem services upon which our quality of life depends. In some areas where stressors have impaired ecosystem function, the cost of maintaining ecosystem services is high and deterioration in quantity, quality, and access to ecosystem services is evident.
Ecosystems provide the direct goods and indirect services that ensure human well-being. These are collectively referred to as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services include: regulating services, such as the mitigation of flood and drought, the filtration of air and water, and the control of pest populations; provisioning services, such as food, fibre, and water; cultural services, such as education, recreation, psychological health, and spiritual experience; and the supporting services necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services, such as soil formation and nutrient cycling.1
Ecosystem services are important because they provide critical life support, they underpin our economy and quality of life, and the full suite of services cannot be duplicated with human-made alternatives.
Examples of changes in biomes, habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes presented in other key findings that affect ecosystem services, as viewed through the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework.1